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Sirak Melkonian

Sirak Melkonian is considered to be one of the founders of the Iranian-Armenian modern art movement, and is a true pioneer of Iranian modernism.


Melkonian is well known for his abstract paintings, often of a topographical nature, but began his career, like many other painters, using figuration as his primary stylistic trait in his drawings, prints and paintings. He then began experimenting with other Iranian modernists, as a reaction to the older generation of Iranian artists.


His figurative works drew attention to his art and brought him the Imperial Court Prize at the Tehran Biennale in 1958 for his works, including his linocuts. His figurative works were appreciated and found at the Paris Biennale (1959), Venice Biennale (1958), after he had previously won the Contemporary Iranian Artist Exhibition of the Iran American Society (1957).


In the early 1960’s Melkonian began focusing more specifically towards abstraction in his work, and became a leading figure in the Iranian art scene, due to his successes at home and internationally. In 1961, Melkonian was part of the exhibition hosted at Saderat Bank in Tehran (alongside, Marcos Grigorian, Bijan Saffari, Sohrab Sepehri, Manucher Sheybani and Parviz Tanavoli) which drew the support and attention of Iranian arts patron Abby Grey.


Melkonian founded the Azad Art Group in the early 1970’s, with some other important artists living and working in Iran at the time. They were introduced formally at the Tehran International Art Fair in 1974, pushing the boundaries and understanding of conceptual art and installation works in Iran.


Sirak Melkonian has exhibited his work in over 140 exhibitions worldwide, from Tehran to Paris, New York to Yerevan. His works can be found in major public and private international collections; such as the Niavaran Palace, TMoCA, and LACMA.

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